With Season 3 of The Boys set to drop on Amazon Prime Video in just two weeks, it’s time we all admit that The Boys is one of, if not the best, comic book adaptations of all time.
Comic books have been adapted into films and television series since the 1940s but it’s only over the last few decades that comic book films and shows became extremely successful and popular.
Look at Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, which won two Academy Awards, or the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s (MCU) Avengers: Endgame, which, in 2019, was the highest-grossing movie worldwide.
I am a huge fan of comic books and comic book film adaptations, and don’t get me wrong: The Dark Knight is one of my favourite films and I love the MCU dearly. However, Amazon Prime’s original series, The Boys needs more recognition when it comes to the superhero/comic book genre; it’s one of, if not, the best ever made.
And I know The Boys is critically acclaimed and has won multiple Emmy awards but it’s still nowhere near as successful or popular as other films/shows in the same genre even though it should be! Why?
Well firstly, most adaptations deviate from their source materials and The Boys is no exception. But in my opinion, ALL changes made in The Boys were made for the better; I’d happily argue that The Boys television series is better than the comics.
However, other adaptations over the years have made some changes that felt unnecessary or frustrating. For instance, the MCU’s Spider-Man was a tad too reliable on Stark technology (although hopefully, after the events of Spider-Man: No Way Home this will change).
Secondly, The Boys is seriously grounded – something that made The Dark Knight so well-received – but unlike other comic adaptations, isn’t afraid to show blood, gore and violence to the utmost. Plus, the series isn’t afraid to tackle serious issues; the political commentary The Boys has as a running theme throughout the show is fantastic.
Thirdly, what makes The Boys so good, is the characters – who are refreshingly different when compared to other superhero projects and are acted to perfection by the cast. For example, one of The Boys’ protagonists, Billy Butcher, isn’t a good guy. He has few redeeming qualities and will literally do whatever it takes to bring the ‘supes’ down.
Plus, the reason why Butcher wants to take down the supes isn’t because it’s for the greater good; it’s for selfish reasons – he has a personal vendetta because of what Homelander did to his wife. I know you could argue that many comic book adaptations have anti-heroes as the lead but as Butcher is much more extreme and radical than other anti-heroes, he truly can’t be classified as an anti-hero; Butcher is an anti-villain.
And I can’t not mention Anthony Starr’s performance as Homelander. That man deserves all the awards for his portrayal of the sadistic and twisted ‘superhero’. Starr can show viewers what Homelander’s feeling or thinking with a simple look or movement; no dialogue necessary.
However, whenever Homelander does speak, Starr gives each line the perfect inflection. Plus, he’s incredibly skilled at switching between Homelander’s ‘good’ persona and his true evil personality. Essentially, Starr turns in a flawless portrayal every episode and is one of the main reasons why The Boys is a top-notch series.
Finally, The Boys is just so well-written. The plotline is so intricately woven but it’s never felt convoluted or confusing. Each character has clear motivations and interesting development. Plus, the show perfectly balances violent action, black humour and moving, emotional moments.
If you consider yourself a comic book fan, do yourself a favour and watch The Boys as soon as possible, if you haven’t already done so. In many ways, it’s better than more mainstream comic book adaptations like the MCU and Nolan’s Batman trilogy, and it’s time it gets the recognition it deserves.